The 6-member boy group ONEUS has gained quite a bit of attention since their debut, surprising more people with each comeback. With neither a cute concept nor a bad boy concept, ONEUS thus far have filled a niche that seemed to be missing for many. After “Valkyrie,” an EDM-heavy dance track, and “Twilight,” with an overall more emotional tone, “Lit” as the title track is in contrast more upbeat and catchy. ONEUS already provided many changes with their albums which seems to have attracted even more ears than if they had stayed within their safe zone, focusing on only one concept. Fly with Us is their third Korean comeback, but does it hold up to the standard fans set them to?
01. “Intro: Fly Me to the Moon”
Some intros deserve a full 3-minute song, and this is one of them! While it is a shame that this intro is not a full song, it is the perfect start for this album and excites the listener for the upcoming journey.
With electric-sounding synths and rap-talk vocals supported by a trap beat, the intro is able to make the listener pay attention in a short span of time. Having a piano in the background helps the listener ease into the album even better.
02. “Plastic Flower”
The start of this track is reminiscent of “elevator music” but that does not hold up long when the song starts with a pleasing vocal melody. The overall rhythm the song creates is certainly groovy and addicting. Enhanced with a fast-paced trap beat and piano, “Plastic Flower” shows how a song can be upbeat but still calm and easy to listen to. The track is further complemented by erratic reloading and gunshot noises, snapping, and flute-like synths.
With trap being the main musical direction, the track plays with additional noises and instruments but is enhanced rather than made messy.
“Lit” had me questioning how well traditional instruments could fit into a fun pop track like this. The traditional instrumental parts were edited to sound more electronic, reminiscent of some zithers and flutes, helping the track sound more unique and adding a bit of enthusiasm.
“Lit” shines with its nice vocal melody; the different voices and parts flow well together. Aside from the traditional instruments. the track contains something tropical with dampened synths and the style of which some lines were sung: special ad-libs at certain parts boosts this direction even more.
Additionally, the use of spazzing horns in the chorus add a kind of epicness to the overall sound for it to not get too boring, as well as a surprising EDM dance break towards the end.
04. “Blue Sky”
“Blue Sky” fails to deliver what it sets out to do: a rise to epicness.
Reminiscent of “Twilight,” the track has a more calmer sound, almost mysterious, starting off great with another marvelous vocal melody and a piano with synthesized water drops, but after the vocal change, it somehow loses the feeling carried in the beginning.
The whole pre-chorus feels awkward; the way the vocals were mixed with the instrumental feels off, not muffled but off-key, and the same can be said for the adlibs and high notes towards the end. It is either because they do not fit well with the instrumental or it is the way the producer edited the vocals.
The very first part, the rap verses and the electronic drop are able to save and regain the initial feeling for me, although they do not fully elevate the track from its odd parts.
05. “Level Up”
“Level Up” has verses that build up the hype that is supposed to come with its drop. Upbeat from the get go with spazzing horns and a spaced-out trap beat, the track adds a constant distorted whistling synth that just creates excitement for the listener. The pre-chorus excels at being the bridge to the drop.
However, the drop does not do the song justice, with the repetitive words “level up” and the other phrases the chorus is filled with. It takes away from what could have been an amazing instrumental drop.
Unlike “Blue Sky,” “Level Up” has strong verses but suffers from a drop that does not do the song justice.
06. “Stand By”
“Stand By” has difficulties drawing the listener in. Being the last song of the album and a slower song at that, it feels completely out of place from the rest of the album.
It does sparkle with another great melody throughout, as it is calmer, especially with the acoustic guitar. It is a good cool-off after the five upbeat songs before. A chilled-down rap, softer vocals, longer notes altogether helps create a friendly and calm atmosphere.
However, because it does feel so different from the rest, it is hard to get into the track at first. There is not anything bad about the song itself, more about the placing of it, which plays a big role for most tracks in albums.
Fly with Us maintains a high energy level throughout: the contrast between high and low tension, upbeat and calm, makes the tracks all the more exciting to listen to. The album fits together well with the general rhythm and its vocal melodies, making for an easy and fun listen although there are some parts that might sound jarring to some.